Saint Clair ‘Wairau Reserve’ Sauvignon Blanc 2012


The Saint Clair house style of Sauvignon Blanc rests strongly in the camp of the thiol-expressive wines. A few short years ago, this was seen as a particularly distinctive and different style from the methoxypyrazine versions prevalent and consistent with those of Europe. There has been a bit of a back-lash on the pungent, passionfruit and tropical fruit wines, especially those which veer towards sweat. The character is deemed acceptable nowadays, as long as it is not overly dominant, and that "there is still fruit present”. The problem is that thiol compounds are sulphur related, and detected by judges as similar to mecaptans, and the gamy, pungent, sweaty seen as offensive and not attractively fruity. The compounds responsible for the flavours are 3MHA, 3MH and 4MMP. (The gooseberryish flavours are accounted primarily by the IBMP compound.) The question that could be posed is: "are thiol flavours expressions of fruit?”, or are they extraneous?

Certain winemakers and producers, Saint Clair among them, believe that Sauvignon Blanc can be powerfully thiol expressive, and correctly so, as long as the wines are not interpreted in the faulty spectrum. Are they more discriminating in such matters? Or are they less? Saint Clair has made their ‘Wairau Reserve' Sauvignon Blanc their strongest and richest expression in the style they believe in and enjoy. It can be spectacularly successful in wine shows, or it can be passed by. It depends on the judges involved. I certainly enjoy the style (as I equally do with the methoxypyrazine gooseberry and herbal spectrum wines), "as long as there is fruit, and not just sweat”. Here is my review of the Saint Clair ‘Wairau Reserve' Sauvignon Blanc 2012. www.saintclair.co.nz

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